Rennes - OM (0-3): Third time lucky!13 jan 2018
After a defeat at home in the championship (1-3) and an elimination in the League Cup (2-2, 4 to 3 penalty shoot-out), OM faces Rennes for the third time in the season on the 20th day of the Ligue 1 Conforama. In 4-4-2 against Valenciennes in the French Cup, Rudi Garcia returns to 4-2-3-1 for the first away game of 2018. And the Olympians quickly resumed their good habits from the end of 2017. Their desire was evident from as early as the thirtieth second with the first of many opportunities for Marseille, by Sanson. Between possession of the ball, successful passes and the rhythm, OM dominates by far. After 20 minutes, they have already taken 7 shots. It's not always on target, but by bombarding Koubek, everyone thinks that the Czech goalie will eventually crack.
Just before the half-hour, Thauvin darts into the box and gets a penalty after contact with Mexer. The most determined Olympian wants to get justice, but Koubek saves his shot. The Marseille players don't release their grip on the Rennes defence. This pays off very quickly. Sanson crosses for Thauvin who plays backward to Germain and tricks the defence. The striker doesn't hesitate to score the opening goal (0-1, 35th).
The Bretons proceed needless to say with counter attacks, and come close to succeeding twice. It takes two parries by Mandanda and a clearance on the line by Sakai to reduce the opportunities of Lamouchi's men to nothing. Rare but dangerous, Rennes' opportunities make the Marseille supporters tremble.
The Olympians double their lead before the break. Germain roars up the right and crosses to Sanson who takes over without control and outwits Koubek (0-2, 45th). OM goes back to the dressing rooms with a two-goal lead.
Back for the second half with the best of intentions, the Rennes players are better, all the more so as Payet and his partners leave them the keys to the game. Drawing on their defensive qualities, they manage to get out of the onslaughts of the men in red and black. Feeling that his players are slowing down and with the next match in mind, receiving Strasbourg from Tuesday, Rudi Garcia starts the waltz of substitutions. Zambo Anguissa replaces Payet and brings power, then Njie enters in place of Germain.
The aim is to hold out, but we know that defence is the best form of attack. Thauvin tries his "special" for that matter but misses Koubek's top corner. Sanson, in top form, shifts to Njie after a good sequence of play but the Cameroonian misses the target. Rennes hit Mandanda's crossbar, but straight after, Njie goes to the left, slides to Gustavo whose cross to the far post finds Thauvin. With a header, the Orléans native launches the ball into the back of the net. (0-3, 83rd).
At the end of the encounter, Bedimo comes into play and is thus back on a Ligue 1 Conforama pitch since the 14th of May 2017. Amavi injured since Friday, Rudi Garcia could need him. The match ends on a great effort by Thauvin who from the centre circle tries to lob Koubek. His ball strikes the Rennes goalie's crossbar...
2018 is therefore starting really well for OM. After qualifying in the French Cup at the Orange Velodrome, the Marseille players confirm that they're still just as comfortable away. They pull off a great success in Rennes. With three earnt at Roazhon Park, they draw level, in terms of points, with Monaco and Lyon. They prove that their state of mind hasn't changed after the holidays and that they can be counted on in the race to the podium.